COVID-19

Possible wave of evictions has renters worried

A governor-ordered moratorium on evictions has ended. A Kalamazoo renters group is worried about what that may mean for those who can't pay the rent.

In March, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered that landlords couldn’t evict tenants. The order, issued in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, was meant to help people out of work due to her stay-at-home order and the ensuing economic downturn.

Whitmer allowed that order to expire July 15. That leaves many renters wondering whether they will face eviction in the near future.

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The situation is exacerbated by the expiration of federal unemployment dollars. Unless Congress approves another relief package, unemployed people will lose $600 per week in federal unemployment assistance at the end of July.

A group called the Greater Kalamazoo Renters Union is hoping to keep the evictions at bay by petitioning municipal governments, according to an article on Southwest Michigan’s Second Wave.

“The whole idea around this is when renters stand together, they are more powerful than any renter alone,” said Andy Argo, a spokesperson for the group.

They recently sent a petition to the city of Kalamazoo asking them to ask the state for the right to declare a local state of emergency. That would allow the city to halt evictions.

For its part, city officials have said there are already programs for helping people faced with eviction.

The city is the recipient of $1.3 million of federal coronavirus relief funding passed by Congress in March. In addition, the city has already helped launch a $720,000 fund to help people facing eviction.

And more help is on the way. A day after the eviction ban ended, the state started an Eviction Diversion Program with another $50 million in federal aid.

You can read the full story here.

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